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How to Enroll In the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Course near Prattville Alabama

Prattville AL CNA taking patient's vital signsOnce you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training classes near Prattville AL. After you have earned your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in healthcare within the USA. Although it may seem like a difficult task, it's essential that you choose the best course to acquire the proper training and education. Many prospective students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More regarding that alternative later. But completing your due diligence prior to deciding on a school requires much more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into account. We will be addressing those subjects together with various other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.

The Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Prattville AL Certified Nursing Assistant assisting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many functions in the Prattville AL hospitals, clinics and other health organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they perform under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital setting can include:

  • Administering basic services to patients
  • Reading patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding patients with meals
  • Transferring patients to other areas

CNAs can also practice in Prattville AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that the majority of people perform daily without aid, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these patients since they typically remain in the facilities for prolonged time frames. Frequently, they can end up being the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be an useful resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Courses

In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Prattville AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it's essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.

Online CNA Schools

Prattville AL student attending CNA online classesAttending CNA schools online is becoming a more in demand way to receive instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Prattville AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Should You Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A CNA is an important member of any Prattville AL healthcare organization. In fact, medical care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the front line care of patients or residents of the medical facility or agency that he or she is employed by. CNAs also help with daily activities such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have a role in keeping their patients safe and comfortable. As a team member, the CNA reports to a nurse, typically a Registerd Nurse. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their observations about each patient’s condition. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other medical professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The work can be physically strenuous, including positioning, lifting, and moving patients during their shift. CNAs spend most of their day or evening on their feet because they always have a task at hand. But all in all, it’s the perfect job for those who like to keep busy and help people while treating them with respect and dignity.

Questions to Ask CNA Training Programs

What to Ask Prattville AL CNA schoolsOnce you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you get a quality education and employment in the Prattville AL area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Prattville AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA colleges you are considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Prattville AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Prattville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Choose the Best Nurse Assistant Training

Prattville AL CNA with assisted living patientDeciding on the best certified nursing assistant school is potentially the most critical phase to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are various aspects that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is essential that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Prattville AL.